Cardiff Devils hopes of claiming their first victory in the 2018/19 Champions Hockey League were dashed on Tuesday night, going down 3-1 to last year’s runners-up, Växjö Lakers, in Sweden.
Mike Hedden got the EIHL side off to a great start, beating Lakers netminder Viktor Andrén after eight and a half minutes of play to open the scoring.
Växjö were quick to respond however, equalising through Pontus Netterberg 90 seconds later before Brendan Shinnimin put the home side ahead in the 16th minute.
Both sides continued to press during the second period, with the Lakers knowing a win in regulation was vital to their chances of progressing while Cardiff looked to stun the SHL side as they did 12 months ago.
As it was, neither side could add to the scoreboard during the middle frame, setting up a tantalising finale.
A double-minor for Boarding seven minutes into the third period handed Cardiff an extended power play opportunity, but Andrew Lord’s side was unable to convert.
The Devils began to run into some penalty trouble of their own towards the end of the game, with Mark Louis Delay of Game penalty proving as Austin Ortega used the extra space on the ice to feed Jonas Røndbjerg at the far post, Røndbjerg duly firing past Bowns to put seal the tie, and the 3 points.
Cardiff conclude their 2018/19 CHL campaign next Tuesday in the Welsh capital, when Växjö will be the visitors for the final round of group games.